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International Relations Theory in Flux in View of China's 'Peaceful Rise'
GORDON C. K. CHEUNG
This paper attempts to examine the fact that the conventional theoretical approaches used to understand international relations, especially hegemonic stability theory, have been witnessing consistent problems arising both from the experiences of the current hegemon, the US, and the challenge posed by the rise of China, a power which is increasingly willing and able to project and promote its historical and cultural position in the East Asian region through community building and soft power development. By analyzing both the theoretical discussion on hegemonic stability and constructivism, as well as criticism of the cultural dimensions of Chinese soft power, it concludes that China's cultural factors have become more useful and increasingly will be perpetuated more extensively as long as they ﬁt into the political dynamics and economic changes in East Asia. Key words: China, hegemonic stability, Confucianism, soft power, constructivism
This paper attempts to examine the fact that the conventional theoretical approaches used to understand international relations, especially hegemonic stability theory, have been witnessing consistent problems arising both from the experiences of the current hegemon -the US- and the challenge posed by the rise of China, a power which is increasingly willing and able to project and promote its historical and cultural position in the East Asian region through community building and soft power or simply 'peaceful rise (heping jueqi)' (Zheng 2005). Hu Jintao ﬁrst used the term 'peaceful rise' in autumn 2003. Yet, the theoretical foundation was built by Zheng Bijian, Vice-president of the Central Committee's Central Party School. The notion of peaceful rise, according to Zheng, rests on three principles: perpetuating economic and political reform through the promotion of a socialist market economy, seeking cultural support for China's peaceful rise and balancing the interests from different sectors internally and externally to support its rise. (Glaser and Medeiros 2007: 294-295) The term 'peaceful rise' is either considered a reﬂection of China recognizing 'America is even stronger' or projecting
He argued that 'The United States never enjoyed a 6 _______________________ The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies 26•2008 . soft power and East Asian education cooperation rather than more traditional mechanisms of war and military alliances. Confucianism. so as to confront the current system (from economic to political) of East Asian international relations established by the US.e.' (The Economist. Contested US Power Relations The United States has long been regarded as the hegemonic successor to Great Britain after Second World War. (2004: 189-190) Ikenberry and Mastanduno argued that 'Despite the robustness of American power. If one accepts constructivism's argument in international relations.K. China has been trying to solidify its regional hegemony and historical relations in East Asia with a view to project its position as the establishment status quo power by redeeming her East Asian historical/cultural relations. the ability of the United States to extend the frontier of its liberal hegemonic order further into Asia is problematic. and the historical and cultural inﬂuences of text books. For instance. Pang Zhongying has been trying to 'normalize' the East Asia region through Chinese effort. for instance) and academic dissemination to enhance its power construction process. The second section of the paper will examine the social construction of the concept of Chinese soft power through the inﬂuence of the economic values of Confucianism across East Asia. (2005: 17-18) This paper will ﬁrst critically assess the notion of hegemonic stability through examination of Joseph Nye's depiction of the paradox between the power construction of the US and the exercise of soft power. Cheung ________________________________________________________ China as 'a hidden threat. psychological and political factors in shaping the development of contemporary Chinese nationalism. The ﬁnal section will be a critical assessment of these measures in relation to the perception of China's peaceful rise. current Chinese nationalism is also in part a product of the interactions between China and the outside world. a professor from Beijing University. Some new Chinese textbooks also outline the grand strategy of China in Asia. However.Gordon C. media (allowing international media to cover the earthquake in Sichuan in May 2008. Joseph Nye disagreed with this assertion.' (2003: 8) Jia Qingguo. 24 June 2004) The peaceful rise is manifested via business and trade deals. also emphasized the notion that external construction plays a crucial role in the formation and projection of Chinese nationalism: [E]xternal factors are at least as important as historical. i. that a state's behavior is in part a product of the interaction between nationstates.
however. Nobel Prize winner 2001. (2003: 221-222) By pursuing an economic policy of 'ﬁshing in the troubled waters'. The so-called American hegemonic __________________________________________________________________________ 7 . and especially US ﬁrms.1 The US's role as a facilitator in maintaining its monetary hegemony was further discredited during the Asian ﬁnancial crisis. (US Senate 1962). shift from the role of being a balancer to that of a beneﬁciary. the US displayed behaviour seen by those in the region as below the standard expected of a hegemon. of the system. increasing from about US$83 billion in 2000 to US$237 billion in 2007. However.___________ International Relations Theory in Flux in View of China's 'Peaceful Rise' general hegemony after the war. asserted that pushing Korea to liberalize its immature ﬁnancial market before 1997 was beneﬁcial to the US. Okuno and Suzumura 1988: 318) The trade disputes between the US and Japan over the semi-conductor industry in the 1980s revealed that national interests prevailed and the marginal cost of being a hegemon was too large in relation to the economic beneﬁt. the US opened its market to Hong Kong's exports. the inability of maintaining the Bretton Woods System in the early 1970s (US dollars pegged with gold) foretold the weakening of the US as a monetary hegemon. (Komiya. expanding until an equilibrium is reached between the costs and beneﬁts of further change and expansion. so hegemony can be neither lost nor regained in the future. was a result of the persistent trade deﬁcit experienced with China. or being heavily criticized by the other states. It was both a careful calculation of the containment strategy as well as a way in which economic hegemonic function was maintained. (Prestowitz 1988: 121) The current demand by many in the international community on the Chinese government to allow the Chinese currency (yuan or renminbi) to appreciate. However. it was Robert Gilpin who systematically theorized the ups and downs of hegemonic succession through marginal cost analysis. Nye later modiﬁed his idea on the development of hegemony in The Paradox of American Power (2002). He states that 'These successive dominant states have changed the system.' (2002: 108) Charles Kindleberger's book (1973) ﬁrst used the concept of hegemonic stability to assess US procrastination in exercising its ﬁnancial leadership after the Great Depression in 1929.' (1981: 156) The hegemon will either cease to exist in that position. The US has experienced a growing trade deﬁcit with China. Joseph Stiglitz. if not predator. The opening up of the US market for goods from Hong Kong in the 1960s was said to be beneﬁcial to Hong Kong in the face of the large number of immigrants from Communist China. In order to tackle the immediate problems of a large inﬂux of refugees.
It can be graphically depicted as follows: FIGURE 1: Three Levels of Power Structure: A Critique of Hegemonic Stability Power of What? Military Economic Transnational Relations Power Structure Unipolar Multipolar Outside government's control Dominated Actors U. transnational migration and drug trafﬁcking. Increasingly. electronic herds Source: Compiled from Nye (2002: 39). Japan. rather than being a hegemon. As can be seen from ﬁgure 1. the US has to work with some international organizations. such as the Six-Party Talks in 2003 and 2004 over the North Korean nuclear crisis.S. China. has become the target for criticism in areas such as environmental policy (refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol). After many years serving in the Pentagon as Assistant Secretary of Defence during Clinton's administration in the 1990s. the US has to share power with regional entities as well as non-state actors. the US had to work collectively with Russia. Following this line of argument. the current hegemonic leadership of the US is predominantly exercised through preponderance of military power. In terms of economic power and transnational relations. Among different economic issues. such as World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to facilitate policy co-ordination. Japan and China Non-state actors: bankers. South Korea and North Korea in order to develop a kind of institutionalized political framework for regional security issue. the US. Cheung ________________________________________________________ leadership should be analyzed through further examination of globalization and transnational relations.Gordon C. Japan and Korea) and East Asian Summit (EAS) did not even include the US as member (Dent 2008: 18)). (For example. (Choo 2005: 39-58). the US has been excluded from some very important regional decision making processes in East Asia. In terms of transnational actors and relations.. Europe. John Odell developed the idea that states needed to negotiate within the framework of an international economic chessboard of transnational relations (2002). Nye eventually grew disillusioned with the narrow focus of the military strategies used 8 _______________________ The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies 26•2008 . On issues related to high politics or military confrontation. U.K. the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) + 3 (China.S.
In short. he bowed out and returned to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to devote himself to the study of 'soft power' which. Long before the materialization of the concept of soft power. The concept of soft power was the culmination of various ideas and themes Nye had expressed in the past. soft power refers to 'attractive power' instead of coercive power (Nye 2004: 5-6). and it is dependent upon the __________________________________________________________________________ 9 . according to him. 'the presence of multiple cultures creates avenues of connection with other countries and helps create a necessary broadening of American attitudes in an era of globalization'(2002: 119). which means one's behaviours can actually be modiﬁed through social changes. Keohane and Nye were working on the ideas of power and interdependence during the height of the Cold War in the 1970s to search for ways of international cooperation under which they calculated that interdependence could be maintained through multiple channels in dealing with international affairs. The Social Construction of Chinese Soft Power Social constructivism was heavily drawn from the sociologist's understanding of social interaction between individuals and societies. Later. Nye hinted at the importance of the US in maintaining soft power in the age of globalization when he stated. Individual is not a priori derived. Along some similar lines. can rescue the US from isolation.___________ International Relations Theory in Flux in View of China's 'Peaceful Rise' in the formation of US foreign policy. In this sense. non hierarchical world relations and non-military means were a priority (1989: 24-25). Nye worried that 'The United States' most striking failure is the low priority and paucity of resources it has devoted to producing soft power' (Nye 2004: 19). More alarmingly. George Herbert Mead once stated that 'What we have here is a situation in which there can be different selves. Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann (1967) ﬁrst pointed out the importance of individual behaviours in relation to social changes and development. he suspected that the US might lose its friends and inﬂuence because power was deﬁned too narrowly among the decision-makers. The term soft power was ﬁrst coined by Joseph Nye to suggest the importance of the US maintaining soft power in the age of globalization because 'the presence of multiple cultures creates avenues of connection with other countries and helps create a necessary broadening of American attitudes in an era of globalization' (2002: 119). China has seized the opportunity (if not hijacking the concept) to facilitate soft power capital in the implementation of its proclaimed peaceful rise. thereby creating the graduate deterioration of US inﬂuence in East Asia.
if they ever happen. Wendt augmented the notion of international relations theory.Gordon C. which juxtaposes the argument of social construction of IR in a larger context. however. drawn from structurationist and symbolic interactionist sociology. As Benedict Anderson wrote in his seminal work Imagined Communities: Reﬂections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism 'Nations. but variably – and it does not grant sovereignty to either the material or the social by deﬁning the other out of existence' (1989: 40). In a later critique on Mearsheimer's article. Mearsheimer 1995). focused on two issues: identities and interests (1992 and 1999). Wendt elaborated further. The climax of social constructivism came with Alexander Wendt's heavy scale attack on the realist school. In this sense. one very important function of culture is to create collective memories: '[O]nce collective memories have been created it may be hard to shake their long-term effects. social constructivism has been modiﬁed to extend the argument beyond the identity building among Southeast Asians. In the World of Our Making. and their deaths. In East Asia.' (Wendt 1999: 391) His ideas on the challenges posed by the materially based arguments of the realist school became clear in Social Theory of International Politics. are never natural. Nicholas Onuf ﬁrst applied social constructivism to the understanding of global relations with a view to examining social interactions and non-material based elements and ingredients rather than hard power context and military struggle. on behalf of the liberal claim that international institutions can transform state identities and interests. the nation's biography cannot 10 ______________________ The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies 26•2008 . learning and epistemology seriously as core arguments underpinning international studies (Wendt 1992: 399 and 416). He clearly stated 'My objective … is to build a bridge between these two traditions (and by extension. Because there is no originator. he contended that 'It does not draw a sharp distinction between material and social realities – the material and the social contaminate each other.' (Wendt 1999: 163).' (Wendt 1995: 73. Cheung ________________________________________________________ set of social reactions that is involved as to which self we are going to be' (1934: 143). concerning culturally based elements (Wendt 1999). have no clearly identiﬁable births. given their truncated colonial history and cultural diversity.K. even if a majority of individuals have ''forgotten'' them at any given moment. forcing it to take into consideration the importance of interaction. As Wendt continued. '[C]onstructivists argue that material resources only acquire meaning for human action through the structure of shared knowledge in which they are embedded. between the realist-liberal and rationalist-reﬂectivist debates) by developing a constructivist argument.
This common cultural trait integrates economic and social relations among the overseas Chinese to form the foundation of working habits and the craftsmanship of business activities (Cheung 2004).' (1991: 205). More importantly. other nations with a much stronger cultural heritage can be most effective in such cultural embedding. order has been preserved' (2003: 59). historical identities are being used and constructed as ways to rescue the Communist Party from losing 'hegemony over Chinese nationalist discourse. Gordon Redding contended that 'directly Confucian ideals. When China has been strong and stable.' (135) As David Campbell successfully indicates.'' through a long procreative chain of begettings. for example between China and East Asian countries. If the imprints of history can facilitate social changes. He contended 'Culture does matter: cultural differences clearly played a major role in the Sino-American apology diplomacy of April 2001 (2005: 109). he did not subscribe entirely the notion of constructivism being eclectic. _________________________________________________________________________ 11 . culture. The missing gaps between ideas and culture between China and East Asia were ﬁrst bridged by David Kang. and a pinch of liberalism. Obviously. According to Kang. 'Historically. Peter Hays Gries depicted a path through language as a means for the re-construction of Chinese identity. Confucianism The economic values of Confucianism have been discussed widely by those who examine the economic activities of the Chinese overseas in Southeast Asia. Nor did he want to make 'a plea for research that includes a touch of realism. are still well enough embedded in the minds of most Overseas Chinese to make Confucianism the most apposite single-word label for the values which govern most of their social behaviours' (1993: 2). it has been Chinese weakness that has led to chaos in Asia. a dash of constructivism. and especially familism as a central tenet. China apparently has been facilitating its historical legacy (in terms of historical. His controversial article 'Getting Asia Wrong' strongly suggested that China's historical weakness was the result of the chaos and disturbance in East Asia in its contemporary history. US Cold War security can be re-written through the 'reconceptualization of identity and the state' (1992: 8). not the other way round.___________ International Relations Theory in Flux in View of China's 'Peaceful Rise' be written evangelically. ''down time.' (Kang 2003: 66) By bringing history and culture. social capital and ideational advantages) to further enhance and create a soft power base to motivate neighbouring East Asian countries to develop more cordial relations with China.
Ding and Saunders' studies force us to think about the obsolescence of using traditional balances of power or force to deter China from rising. conﬁdence. The powerful force underneath Confucianism is interpreted further by Hsiao as the 'Confucianist moral deﬁnition of the state' (1988: 18). management of society. Many of them extensively use such doctrines as family relations. etc. the Chinese language.K. the use of soft power to facilitate the peaceful rise of China has gained momentum. Admitting the tradition of family ties and subordination of paternalism. Huang and Ding further explained that global perceptions of China's cultural importance and the contest of soft power are actually quite positive (2006: 22-44). Cheung ________________________________________________________ The extent of Confucianism. The above mentioned factors are some representative opinions of scholars who use Confucianism as a way of understanding Asian economic growth. the emphasis on entrepreneurialism among Hong Kong people also gives rise to a vibrant and vigorous economic and industrial structure for the growth of Hong Kong. 'China's patience. may help trace the ideas in which cultural consensus can be articulated through the 'Odyssey' of cultural history among some Asian states. and there can be no doubt that Confucianism has been a very powerful force in all of them' (Berger and Hsiao 1988: 7). the Confucian ideal of strong family tradition is used extensively by Siu-lun Wong (1989) as a model to analyse the modernization of Hong Kong's economy. Wong suggests that so called 'paternalistic management' (Wong 1989: 174) is the core successful mode of Hong Kong's economy. as well as the use of bureaucratic authority. Japan.Gordon C. Singapore and Hong Kong have allowed them to derive an 'East Asian development Model' (Berger and Hsiao 1988: 4). according to Peter Berger and Michael Hsiao. The assumption or the major ingredient of the Asian model maintained that 'both Japan and the newly industrialized countries of East Asia belong to the broad area of inﬂuence of Sinitic civilization. along with globally established Confucian values are gradually being accepted as symbols of Chinese soft power (2006: 3-33). On the contrary. therefore. Soft Power of China In China. The Confucian tradition of Asian countries. enables the state to mobilize human resources more freely. In particular. as a foundation for their argument. Furthermore. Their personal encounters and interviews conducted in various Asian countries such as South Korea. hierarchical structure of kinship. respect. Taiwan. and rising economic power translate into a 12 ______________________ The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies 26•2008 .
allowing China in some cases to supplant the United States as the major external cultural and economic inﬂuence' (2007: 107). Another way to facilitate Chinese soft power is to substantiate 'Public Diplomacy. 'giving China increasing inﬂuence in East Asia and the global economic system' (2005: 25). the Renminbi.2 Another way in which China could conjure up a collective historical memory across East Asia. for instance. the Press release of National Affairs Department on 23 January 1998 and the Annual Meeting of World Economy Forum on 1 February 1998. such as the Insurance and Securities System Conference on 14 January 1998. Li argues. etc. Joshua Kurlantzick argued: 'China's soft power indeed has proven successful in many cities [in East Asia] like Mandalay. This process of socialization. China did not capitalize immediately from the dilapidated ﬁnancial chaos across the East Asian region by devaluating its currency. A team of academics from China. Dai Xianglong and Li Lanqing made explicit and coherent statements on their refusal to devalue the Renminbi. according to G. the emerging hegemon articulates a set of normative principles in order to facilitate the construction of an order conducive to its interest' (1990: 284). is to re-interpret East Asian history in a way which reinforce a cultural and regional consensus for the education of the next generation. By strengthening China's soft power capabilities over historical culture. John Ikenberry and Charles A. educational exchange. in order to create a responsible image (Huang 2005). is crucial because 'At the international level. involving it in global affairs with a view to accommodate Chinese interests. In Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power in Transforming the World. Li Ying-chun (2006) echoed Zheng's aforementioned notion of peaceful rise. China did something less expected by the West. and promoting a 'Beijing Consensus' or 'Chinese model' to challenge the Washington Consensus (Ramo 2004).___________ International Relations Theory in Flux in View of China's 'Peaceful Rise' growing pool of ''soft'' power'. developing a communication industry. according to Jean Garrison. Kupchan. These statements were made in many international forums and on important occasions after the crisis. Japan and Korea. Senior leaders such as Zhu Rongji. organizing international events. In contrast to the double-act between the US and IMF measures toward East Asian countries before and after the Asian ﬁnancial crisis. have been working on a collaborative project to create a textbook on the history of East Asia Dongya sanguo di jinxiandai shi [The Contemporary and Modern History of Three East Asian Coun_________________________________________________________________________ 13 .' including media diplomacy. After the Asian ﬁnancial crisis in 1997. which proved to be another strong case for the maneuverability of soft power.
4 In Hong Kong International Airport. 14 ______________________ The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies 26•2008 . academic workers. the ofﬁcial journal of The Institute of World Economics and Politics. national interests and interpretations. If the history of the Cold War was basically constructed by the US. etc. Nevertheless.3 For instance. Placing an academic journal such as China & World Economy in an international airport inevitably brings some pro-China ideas (economic and political) to the attention of global travellers. business people.'5 Obviously. according to their main argument. 53) However. O'Leary 2005: 3). leaving the history of the Cold War un-touched. the intention is to disseminate Chinese academic (both CASS and Tsinghua are relatively more pro-government) viewpoints through English language media. you can ﬁnd China & World Economy displayed side-by-side with other media books. the narrative of their contemporary history was almost stopped around the time of World War II (with only a ﬂimsy ﬁnal chapter about the future East Asian trajectory). such development will not replace the dominance of the US in the academic discourse. Through historical documentation. which effectively opened up a window of opportunity for China to penetrate into the international academic discourse.Gordon C. These differences were due to differing view points. Most of its articles are either related to China or have implications for Chinese foreign policy. Cheung ________________________________________________________ tries] (Dongya sanguo … 2005). The reason for such collaborative effort. the omission of this big chunk of history is trying to erase the presence of the US in East Asia via soft educational power. Chinese social sciences have also witnessed an integration with the main stream academic channels through the publication of various academic journals. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) has been successfully linked up with the main stream English publishers. (Dongya sanguo. they were trying to focus on several historical pieces such as the Japanese aggression and the demonstration of the importance of the Confucian inﬂuence across this region. a group of scholars from Tsinghua University established a journal entitled The Chinese Journal of International Politics which was aimed at 'providing a forum for academic papers and articles on problematic issues. Secondly.. China & World Economy. as I argued previously (Cheung 2008: 197): Apart from providing the basic cultural and historical development of these three countries.. In addition to scientiﬁc contributions.K. a ﬁeld which has always been preoccupied by US ideas (Hix 2004: 298. was to reconcile their historical disagreements on the contemporary history of East Asia. a powerful soft power element that can gradually inﬂuence people's thinking. business books or general magazines in the book stores.
a 12-part TV series on the study of the rise and fall of nine historical great powers . not necessarily from the conventional notion of victim/victor. Holland. according to. those newly developed ties increase China's power in the region' (2006: 82). China openly refused to be the hegemonic successor.principles that ensure the supremacy of the leading state and dominant social class . To put it simply. this TV series looked at the rise of great powers from a positive angle. Great Britain. former Soviet Union and the United States of America-were selected and heavily documented to pave the way for the call of the rise of China in the future.___________ International Relations Theory in Flux in View of China's 'Peaceful Rise' A recent example of the so-called peaceful rise of China was when China Central Television (CCTV) (the mouthpiece TV channel)'s TV series Daguo Jueqi [The Rise of Great Powers] . or Marxist view of exploitation. In fact. Japan. this so-called 'general education' TV show gave the impression that China will naturally take its place as one of the world's great powers in time (10 December 2006. the relaxation of the media coverage (local and overseas) of the earthquake in Sichuan province in May 2008 further perpetuated the established notion of Chinese soft power (Yazhou Zhoukan. or as having the result of jeopardizing too much the position of less powerful states. Spain. it has 'to obtain a broad measure of consent on general principles . 68-75). France. the instrument should not be seen as too coercive. or even attempts to be included in the existing situation. allowing international society to assess through global medias. The countries proﬁled in the series-Portugal. 24-31). by necessity. Such gestures help reinforce the openness of Chinese politics. Cultural Assessment and the Peaceful Rise of China The post-Cold War world economy has witnessed a more pluralistic distribution of power among different nations of various sizes and capability.and at the same time to offer some prospect of satisfaction to the less powerful' (Nye 1991: 32). does not mean that China is moving towards a frontal assault with the US through direct competition in a zero sum manner. Germany. Thomas Christensen. If power is deﬁned as an act of inﬂuence. contradictory to many realists who assumed that should be a _________________________________________________________________________ 15 .was aired on TV from 13 to 24 November 2006. 1 June 2008 . By the same token. which. If a nation tries not to be drawn into the swamp of the contemporary world politics. would imply that 'China's deepening economic and diplomatic ties to the region have come at a high price for the United States because. The notion of a Chinese peaceful rise. According to Yazhou Zhoukan's analysis (a Hong Kong-based Chinese magazine).
given that Korea subscribed to Confucianism and Thailand and Burma had substantial Chinese populations? Finally. Thailand and Burma were suffered from poverty before World War II. in Book 16. there will be no poverty. providing competition to US economic interests regarding acquisitions. Its concept goes beyond the two founding fathers' (Confucius and Mencius) ideas. Confucianism entails other dimensions of social and economic interactions. how come North Korea. In addition. aiming at fostering the proper way of governance and the crux of human relations.K. which perhaps should also be taken 16 ______________________ The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies 26•2008 . Ezra F. Ji Shi. in practice. the focus of the report was intended to convey a continuation of Deng Xiaoping's idea on economic development. Although Hu Jintao has pointed out the importance of 'scientiﬁc development' and 'harmonious society' in his 17th Party Congress report in October 2007. The connotation is much closer to socialism than capitalism.6 Nor does it make any difference if the rise of China has turned into an economic force that has challenged American economic hegemony. Cheung ________________________________________________________ logical outcome of Sino-American relations. failure can be attributed to socialist planning. either' (1991: 84). The Analects of Confucius (1992) contains the dialogues between Confucius and his students. Furthermore. It is clear that his idea of government concerns the fairness of society.Gordon C. the extent of the use of Confucianism is not without limitation. Pei 2006 and Cheung 2006). a small population will not matter much. Again. and more generally competing with economic sectors that are considered to be very critical and sensitive in maintaining US power and prosperity (Marchick 2006). why should the Confucian motherland lag behind? It is true that after 1949. but China had not achieved widespread industrialization before 1949. Vogel argued that 'If Confucianism alone explains why countries modernize. Finally. there will be no such things as peril and subversion' (The Analects of Confucius 1992: 281). the sense of growth and economic development is less transcendent in the original spirit of Confucius. Neither did China want to sacriﬁce three decades of economic development after 1978.7 For instance. and when there is stability throughout the land. if Confucianism has such a profound effect on economic development. when the people are united. which has now become almost the only reserve of legitimacy left to rationalize the continued monopoly of power of the Chinese Communist Party (Rossi 2005. Confucianism has a well-established meaning. to put it more bluntly. As a concept. Confucius has substantiated his idea of equality by saying that 'For when wealth is equally distributed.
In addition to catching up to the West economically. rightly pointed out the importance of the use of history and culture in the making of US foreign policy. In the keynote address delivered in the National Bureau on Asian Research in November 2006. The key question is not its usefulness. China's soft power relations are inevitably useful in the current debate on the discussion of US power relations and the rise of China's economic and political proﬁle. remained intact and will be sustainable even when the US hegemonic power has eclipsed. China is a follower after all. Henry M.___________ International Relations Theory in Flux in View of China's 'Peaceful Rise' into consideration in a comprehensive assessment on the cultural explanation of political economy. He concluded that the US may be weakened. the United States' (2007: 219). clearly stated that 'The best way for China to rise peacefully is to behave like a responsible power and accommodate to the current superpower. He reminded us that 'The ability of the United States to pursue its traditional goals of maintaining a balance of power. Similar arguments came along in the same vein by Chinese watcher in the US. China now aims to narrow the ''normative gap'' in international relations theory' (Callahan 2004: 570). and pressing for the expansion of democracy is more constrained because this is now a region in some ways much more pro-active and resistant to US inﬂuence' (Pyle 2006: 11). but it is much less likely that China will ever manage to overtake the Western order' (2008: 37). As William Callahan argues 'China is not merely trying to use its new economic power to transform its political status from that of a third world country to that of a Great Power. is one way to view Chinese culture as the historical lynchpin. Susan Shirk in China: Fragile Superpower. From in-depth interviews and analysis on Chinese nationalism. but a matter of acceptance. especially from the points of view of the existing hegemony. but China has to comply with the established world order created by the US and its partners. By ignoring 'the historical processes and speciﬁc relations of political power. 'the treatment of culture in political science has downplayed the heterogeneous ways in which people experience the social order within and among groups…' (2002: 715). _________________________________________________________________________ 17 . The regional and global institutions that the US helped create. Kenneth Pyle. Peter Hays Gries concluded that there is a general feeling in China that 'China's sun will rise as America's sets' (2005a: 406). On another occasion. John Ikenberry echoed the point 'it may be possible for China to overtake the United States alone. Using culture and civilization within the soft power approach. however. keeping the region open to trade and investment.' according to Lisa Wedeen. Jackson Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Washington.
therefore. With the approach of a more interdependent and diversiﬁed global environment. Many agendas and issues are transnational in nature. China's cultural past. this paper demonstrates that the theoretical notion of hegemonic stability needs substantial improvement through which the current hegemon—the US—is increasingly less able to facilitate most of the functions which were taken for granted for decades. in particular with thanks to the two anonymous reviewers and the editor from the CJAS for very useful comments. Thank you for Justin Orenstein's editing.uk). increasingly. Gordon C. University of Nottingham. Cheung ________________________________________________________ Conclusion In conclusion.k. The current paper has been extensively revised. Taiwan and China to enable the consolidation of various ideas and research materials for this paper. United Kingdom (g. East Asian economic development and the regionalization of many economic.cheung@durham. Part of the paper was ﬁrst presented in 'China in the International Order: Integrating Views from Outside-in & Inside-out' of The China Policy Institute International Conference. Thanks are also due to Lee Foundation (Singapore) and the Universities' China Committee in London's support to my previous research activities done in Hong Kong. Acknowledgments 18 ______________________ The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies 26•2008 . these factors do not necessarily coincide with the established power relations in the East Asian region. will be exploited more extensively. K. The peaceful rise of China within the arena of foreign policy cumulates with the unique nature of Chinese economic and social changes. Thank you for Zheng Yongnian's invitation. 18-19 September 2006.c. as long as it ﬁts the political dynamics and economic changes in East Asia. has become more useful and. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of East Asia: An International Quarterly. However.K.ac. nevertheless. enables some historical and cultural discourse to penetrate into the consensus building process.Gordon C. international affairs are perhaps less suitable to be carried out by a single dominant power. with more countries sharing different parts of it. Yet. political and international relations allow countries in this region to augment its sphere of inﬂuence which. Cheung is Lecturer in International Relations of China in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University.
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